Strategy

Towards the Next 50 - ASEAN’s Future Opportunities

09 August 2017

This year is Asean's 50th anniversary milestone. In the spirit of reflection and looking forward, we asked five industry leaders what they believe are the challenges and opportunities for growth in the region. Here’s what they told us:

Marcio Dobal, Senior Regional Vice President Asia Pacific, SAS. Image credit: SAS

Marcio Dobal, Senior Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific
SAS

Invest in analytics to derive insight from data

As the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) works towards the AEC Blueprint 2025, Big Data Analytics presents the region with opportunities for growth and innovation. From understanding customers across channels as e-commerce grows, to adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning, the value for ASEAN organisations is in moving from data to insight, and to action.

While the region is characterised by diversity in growth paces, cultures, and eco-systems, we need the right tools and expertise to derive value from big data.

At SAS, we see two immediate approaches to tackling this. Firstly, to make analytics simple and accessible to all businesses, big and small; and secondly, to cultivate interest and proficiency in analytics within the region’s workforce.

SAS has been investing in heavily in the research and development of solutions to empower businesses in this region to take charge of their data quickly and easily, and to extract actionable insights for smarter decision making.

Alongside ASEAN’s innovation boom and the rise of start-ups, our open, scalable platform SAS Viya provides users with fast, accurate analytical capabilities.

As the region transforms, such resilient platforms for advanced analytics – from machine learning and delivery of artificial intelligence – will help address today’s complex analytical challenges and equip businesses with the ability to scale effortlessly.

Accompanying the increasing focus on technology is also the need to develop our data science and analytics talents in this region, which is part of the roadmap to ASEAN’s success.

To equip the region with the right expertise, SAS is working with governments, education institutes and corporates to develop the workforce through various training programs.

In Singapore, our Business Intelligence & Analytics (BIA) programme continues to empower students and young professionals with in-depth data science and analytics training, since its launch five years ago.

Data analytics and the value of the insights it provides are enablers of ASEAN’s growth. Technology adoption and workforce development underpins the success in enabling this.

Arleen Paulino, Vice President, Singapore Site Operations, Amgen Singapore Manufacturing. Image credit: Amgen Singapore Manufacturing

Arleen Paulino, Vice President, Singapore Site Operations
Amgen Singapore Manufacturing

Streamline supply chains to speed up drug access

The ASEAN region struggles to keep up with the mounting healthcare challenges brought by a rise in chronic diseases and rapidly aging populations. Annual healthcare spending in ASEAN between 2014 and 2018 is expected to be approximately 11% of GDP, demanding the urgent attention from key players in the healthcare sector.

The biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals industries have a great responsibility to improve patient access and the highest quality treatments for those with serious illnesses across the world.

Exploring biologic pathways and multiple scientific modalities will allow us to provide comprehensive, tailored and cost-effective solutions to patients.  

The growing demand for treatments, combined with cost constraints and increasingly complex global supply chains, have put pressure on the industry’s ability to manufacture adequate supplies to meet patients’ needs.

As healthcare costs continue to soar and resources remain constrained, we must capitalise on burgeoning opportunities around biotechnology in ASEAN to improve the global standards of care for patients.

Grounded in science and innovative agility with highly-talented individuals from this region, the industry has the potential to ensure sustainable manufacturing solutions and streamline supply chains to optimise commercial-scale production of medicines for patients.  

Amgen Singapore Manufacturing has created a new bio-manufacturing paradigm that is leaner, greener, more flexible and productive, and less costly to build and operate. The Next-Generation Biomanufacturing facility uses less water and energy, when compared to a conventional plant.

This revolutionary approach incorporates multiple innovative technologies which enable long-term biomanufacturing sustainability, ensuring that our drugs are made accessible to patients with greater speed, advancing Amgen’s goal of bringing the biotech revolution and a reliable supply of medicines to more patients around the world.

Joe Eades, Chairman, Institute of Chemical Engineers. Image credit: Institute of Chemical Engineers

Joe Eades, Chairman
Institution of Chemical Engineers

Building resources responsibly

Over the past 50 years, the chemicals sector has seen tremendous growth across the ASEAN region. 

Singapore's Jurong Island alone is host to over 100 chemicals manufacturing companies providing a vast range of materials for the region. 

Most ASEAN member states have now discovered their own oil and fas reserves and are building their own refineries and chemical manufacturing plants to build their economies on their natural resources.

With the formation of the AEC coupled with the rapid development of the ASEAN economy, the demnd for chemicals and materials manufactured from chemicals will increase significantly.

Chemicals are used in fertilisers needed to improve agricultural yields for food production as well as the packaging to reduce food wastage in the supply chain; they are also used for manufacturing the pharmaceutical medicines that improve the health and quality of life for millions of people. 

The next 50 years will also see many challenges in ASEAN as climate change takes hold and there is an increased demand for access to essential resources that include raw materials, water, food and energy.    

The greatest challenge will be developing the capacity of resources to manage these refineries and chemical manufacturing plants responsibly as they are often handling potentially hazardous materials safely and must ensure there are no safety or environmental releases. This is becoming more important as the assets built in the past 50 years begin to age and require more maintenance.

The Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) with over 45,000 members globally and 8,000 in ASEAN has been working closely with government agencies and industry especially on policy for process safety and with institutions of higher learning to provide external accreditation of their programmes across the ASEAN region to ensure that they meet international standards.

The IChemE also provides the Chartered Engineer Professional Status for experienced engineers that ensures there are quality resources available to manage these facilities. The IChemE is now working with SkillsFuture to accredit process plant technicians initially in Singapore, with plans to roll these professional qualifications across ASEAN.

The next 50 years will also see many challenges in ASEAN as climate change takes hold and there is an increased demand for access to essential resources that include raw materials, water, food and energy.  

Russell Tham, Corporate Vice President & Regional President (SEA), Applied Materials, Inc. Image credit: Applied Materials, Inc

Russell Tham, Corporate Vice President & Regional President (SEA)
Applied Materials, Inc

Undertake advanced manufacturing and scale up partnerships

The global semiconductor industry is experiencing a period of tremendous growth. In 2016, worldwide wafer fabrication equipment spend totalled US$37.4 billion, an 11.3% increase from 2015. The rise was driven by spending on memory and leading edge technology processes for high-end services in data centres for big data analysis, computing and mobility.

With this increase in capital investment and capacity to meet rising end market demand, global semiconductor revenue is forecast to grow 12.3% in 2017 to US$386 billion.

This growth is only possible because semiconductors are truly the building blocks of technology.

Advances in semiconductors enabled by materials engineering help make possible emerging demand drivers, including the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and personalised medicine.

Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and more recently, China are major semiconductor markets in Asia. However, the industry in Southeast Asia (SEA) has also been growing, culminating in US$2 billion of investment in front-end production equipment in 2016.

ASEAN hosts a variety of electronics manufacturing activity – from integrated circuit assembly to insulated wiring, and produces about 13% of global electronics. As a market and manufacturing base, ASEAN has immense potential.

To capitalise on the global electronics uptrend, countries will need to focus on enhancing their ability to undertake advanced manufacturing, as well as develop and execute targeted economic strategies to encourage semiconductor investments.

Additionally, countries should also foster public-private partnerships that enable companies to innovate and scale up faster and more effectively.

In the long term, these public-private partnerships will allow both companies and countries to transform and upgrade, to remain relevant and globally competitive.

It takes a collaborative economy comprising innovative enterprises, an enlightened workforce and technology-enabled countries to be sufficiently nimble and respond to opportunities in a future economy where technology plays an increasingly important role.